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ESPN Helps Take WA’s TV Studio Classroom to the Next Level

ESPN Helps Take WA’s TV Studio Classroom to the Next Level

The Woodstock Academy’s professional industry-standard TV studio continues to expand, thanks to ESPN’s recent donation of an LED video wall that allows students to apply photos, graphics, and video to the background of their news broadcast set.  

In 2022, NBC Connecticut donated a professional industry-standard TV studio, including a news anchor desk, to get this classroom started. The addition of the video wall further elevates the degree of professionalism in the space.

“This video wall is exactly like you’d see in a professional news production, and in fact, this one was in-use at ESPN’s SportsCenter studio up until about a year ago,” said Director of Sports Information Marc Allard, who teaches Sports Communication in the TV studio classroom on WA’s South Campus. “Purchasing a video wall like this would cost several hundred thousand dollars, so we are very fortunate to have it.”

With help from Bradley O’Connor ’04 and Don Brooks from ESPN, The Academy was able to procure the equipment last summer. A series of substantial grants from the State of Connecticut’s Public, Educational and Governmental Programming and Educational Technology Investment Account (PEGPETIA) Grant Program then allowed The Academy to complete the studio set over the last few years. These grants have also supported other projects and broadcast opportunities on campus.

“It’s been up and running for a few weeks now,” said Macy Rawson ’25, a student in Allard’s class. “We used it for a winter sports preview project we just completed.”

“It’s pretty cool,” added classmate Sam Clark ’25. “We filmed interviews with coaches and athletes and had it up on the wall while doing our news broadcasts.” 

The recent upgrades amplify this classroom’s unique academic offerings, with potential projects including announcements, sports recaps, live broadcasts, and video magazines. WA students have the opportunity to get hands-on technical experience here that prepares them for future careers in broadcast journalism on both sides of the camera.

“We’re incredibly grateful to ESPN for this generous donation,” said Head of School Chris Sandford. “It’s helping to set our students up for success as they seek out higher education, internships, and careers in communications.”

The Woodstock Academy is an independent, day and boarding, co-educational, college preparatory high school for grades 9–12 and postgraduates located in Woodstock, CT. The mission of The Woodstock Academy is to prepare all students by providing diverse opportunities through a rigorous curriculum and a variety of programs in order to cultivate the necessary skills to become lifelong learners and global citizens.